Books I Read: White Cat

— September 16, 2011 (8 comments)
Title: White Cat
Author: Holly Black
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Published: 2010
My Content Rating: PG-13 for violence and sexy situations

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers--people with the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, with a mere touch. Curse work is illegal, of course, so they're criminals. Except for Cassel: he hasn't got the touch. He discovers his brothers are keeping secrets from him and suspects he's part of a huge con. He has to unravel his past and his memories to outcon the conmen.

I loved this (and thank you, dear readers, for recommending it). I loved the powers, LOVED the cons, and thought the characters were great. If any of that sounds even remotely interesting to you, read this book.

There were only two things that kept the book from being perfect for me. The first was a possible-but-minor plot hole near the end. (If you've read it: when did Barron have time to read his notebooks?)

The second was the cover. It's a very cool cover, but when I read descriptive hints like this, I had to take a second look:
"Your grandfather told me that someone in your family was descended from a runaway slave," she says.... People are always coming up to me on trains and talking to me in different languages, like it's obvious I'll understand them.
Maybe it's just me, but the guy in this cover doesn't look ambiguous in his racial ancestry at all. He looks white--Italian, maybe--but not like somebody who obviously speaks a foreign language. It didn't ruin the book for me, but it surprised me that someone thought this guy fit the descriptions.

If you've read it, what do you think? About the story, I mean, though we can talk cover in the comments too.

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  1. holy cow, I never realized why Cassel's description confused me--duh the cover, that's what I already had in mind when I started reading... and I hadn't thought about Baron having time or not, I'd have to reread.

  2. I loved this book. Holly Black did some fascinating research into conmen - I heard her talk about it at a conference.

    White-washing covers is fairly common, though. Authors complain about it, but the publishing industry isn't changing very quickly.

  3. @Iliadfan: I've read about the white-washing problem for sure. I just never read anything in connection to White Cat (nor have I ever read a white-washed book myself), so it was a bit of a shock.

  4. Thanks for the recommendation. I've added it to my list. I agree with the cover, but authors often have little or no control over the covers chosen for their books.

    And he's hot. So... there you go... although often find racially ambiguous people to be just as hot. No white washing necessary here.

  5. I'm so glad you liked the book, although I didn't have much doubt. Missed the plot hole at the end, but I was probably racing, racing through my reading too (because I loved it so much). And I completely missed the racial description, so bad on me.

    p.s. Red Glove (also awesome, but much more violent/sexy)

  6. ohman! adam, that was one of my first thoughts too! ugh! total white-wash. plus- i thought the cover was lame anyway. even if it hadn't been white-washed, i think it is boring.
    anyway, i didn't really enjoy it, because i'm not into con-men stuff. but holly black's writing was AMAZING! the dark humor and descriptions! just- wow!

  7. Ooh, the cons were really fun to read about! And yeah, I did wonder about when Barron read his notebooks, but it didn't bother me enough for me to want to go back and check the timeline, haha. I think I would've enjoyed the book more if the revelations had been more surprising. I thought the truths about the powers people had were pretty obvious, and I didn't connect with the character as much as I'd hoped to. Overall I did like the book, though maybe not as much as you did. :)

  8. This is the same series as Red Glove? These covers look nothing alike.